We usually take our cue for Halloween costumes from whatever movie our kids are into. They were totally obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, this summer.
My in-laws gave the kids this beautiful Wizard of Oz storybook when they all came to the hospital to meet our newest baby, Annika. That pretty much sealed the deal on what our family costume theme would be.
The Wizard of Oz has additional sentimental value for me: My paternal grandmother was a Kansas farm girl. Like the Dorothy in the movie, she grew up in the wide open space of Western Kansas during the Great Depression. Here she is, in 1951, holding a Kansas sunflower. I grew up near Seattle, the “Emerald City”, and it was there that my grandmother introduced the Wizard of Oz movie to me.
Also, The Wizard of Oz was the first musical in which I was ever cast. I was thirteen, and I was completely stage-struck after that! I am the blonde girl on the left, wearing a black and yellow Jitterbug costume. My hand is resting on the shoulder of my youngest brother. My other brother was the Mayor of the Munchkin City. He is the boy in front, wearing the blue hat. My little sister was the tiniest Munchkin and she is being held by the Scarecrow.
Here we were, backstage with Toto. Fun fact: The boxes behind us were full of fortune cookies. (The backstage area was adjoined to an Asian food warehouse.)
Anyway, back to the present! As usual, it took a village to pull off costuming the entire family. My mother-in-law, Karen, has also been a costumer for years. Whenever I need something extra special, I know who to ask for help! I call Karen the “Accessories Queen”. She always has the best pieces that really complete a look and make a character extra recognizable, like the witch’s broom and black cape that she loaned me for my Wicked Witch of the West costume.
Karen provided hats for Jeff and me
and Emma’s wand.
She surprised us with the darling Toto basket for Eliza
and the funnel hat and ax for Elliott’s Tin Man costume.
Basically, the moral of the story is this: Even if you are already a costumer, be sure to befriend other costumers in your area and treat them like gold! Build community with them and share costume pieces! You will make friends and save money in the process. Just be sure to be a courteous borrower and return things promptly and in good, clean condition!
Also, in case you are wondering, this is how you pack lots of costumed kids into a Suburban.
In upcoming blog posts I will show you how I made/assembled the pieces for each of our Wizard of Oz character costumes.
Wicked Witch of the West